I have read and heard several passionate posts of people talking about the cost of silence. I thought I understood, but I didn’t. Not until it affected my own life. They say that personal experience is the pathway to true learning. They are right.
Keeping my silence was unpleasant. I was not comfortable. I was plagued by guilt and frustration. I did not respect myself. I was angry with myself and I felt plain uncomfortable. But I was too scared to speak up. People would not like me. I would be alone. I felt the need to adjust and compromise till I did not know where I ended and others began. I hated myself and I felt weak. Most importantly, I was easily convinced about how I should look at myself. Why? I did not allow myself to experience what I thought about myself. I defined myself by other people’s opinions and perceptions because I did not trust my own. After all, I did not even allow myself to give voice to how I felt. So then how can I rely on it? Something voice less?
I soon found myself in a nasty entanglement defined by anxiety attacks, vicious cycles of self- doubt, depression and mind games. I constantly suppressed myself and put other people’s happiness and liking above my own. I tried to blend in- not make a scene. My voice, which I had only begun to find back in Chennai was smothered and pushed into a tight box inside of myself. I started to fear everything even more until all I was - was condensed into a tight ball of anxiety – a jumpy, lumpy human mess where good intentions and sensitivity of being were fighting to rise through an ugly mesh of self-doubt and fear of rejection.
In the end, what was I left with? Acceptance and peace of mind? NO. Friends and happiness? NO. Harmony and lightness of being? Hell NO. In the end, keeping my silence costed me everything I wanted. Not only did I not get to keep my friends, I was left with a terrible taste on my tongue – the taste of self-resentment and hopelessness, and THAT, is the cost of silence.
Many of us keep our silences for a variety of reasons – it’s not worth it. Yes, speaking may cause disharmony, but it allows us to experience and share what we feel before it becomes an exaggerated, complicated mess. I have learnt that speaking up can prevent a lot of problems from even happening and ultimately, it sets you free.
So here's to speaking up and helping the world become a more genuine space!